Pentagon ‘Absolutely’ Expects Additional Attack Attempts at Kabul Airport

Taliban fighters pose for photograph in Wazir Akbar Khan in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The Taliban declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped …
AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

The Pentagon on Friday said it expected more terrorist attack attempts at the Kabul airport, where there are more than 5,000 American troops stationed, after an Islamic State suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members.

“We are certainly prepared and would expect future attempts, absolutely,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said at a briefing. “We are monitoring these threats very carefully, virtually and in real time.”

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / TOPSHOT - Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts, which killed at least five and wounded a dozen, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / TOPSHOT – Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts, which killed at least five and wounded a dozen, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Kirby pushed back against the motion that enough was not done ahead of time before the attack.

He said:

From the very get-go, even before we had a specific threat assessment, force protection was of paramount importance. I don’t want to speak for the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], but I think I can in this regard.

From the beginning, force protection was always at the front of everybody’s mind. Force protection as you will know, particularly in a dynamic environment, is something that changes all the time. As we got more information, we made adjustments to force protection measures to try to do the best we could at what we thought were the specific threats we were facing.

There was a lot being done, which included daily communication with the Taliban about the nature of the threat, and sharing with them the appropriate, relevant information about what we know. Clearly, all of that effort, and there was a lot of effort, clearly fell short in some way because this attack was able to be perpetrated, and we did suffer, as well as our Afghan friends, suffer casualties.

But we will clearly try to figure out what went wrong because clearly, something went wrong. But it would be irresponsible if we didn’t act immediately to double down and make sure that we were being anticipatory as possible because we believe there are credible threats, specific credible threats, and we want to make sure we are prepared for those. I don’t think, and I am sure you can understand, that just a virtue of the fact that we may be taking other steps doesn’t mean that they would have necessarily been steps for what we saw yesterday. We have additional information, so what I would tell you is it is based on the information we have.

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